Our esteemed hosts, Ed and Marilyn, promised plenty of activities while we were here, and they certainly have made good on that statement; we have certainly had plenty to see and do. The first event today was to attend the South Texas Barbecue Cookoff held at the fairgrounds here in Mercedes. This competition had a grand prize of $10,000, and there were scores of cooking teams all around the fairground with every imaginable type of smoker. The only common element seemed to be, well, smoke, and there was plenty of that wafting around all the visitors.
As we walked from one team's site to the next, we were occasionally offered samples of what they were cooking--beans, chicken, brisket, sausage and ribs. Very few of the teams were offering anything early in the day, and those who did had long lines of hungry spectators lined up to get a sample. What I had was mighty good, so it may have been quite a horse race to see who won. (Wait a minute; I don't think it was a good idea to use the word "horse" in a post about barbecue. Something doesn't sound right about that.)
A number of the contestants were showing their college colors on flags above their stations. We took a photo of this Texas Tech alumnus's tent just for Bubba's enjoyment, since he couldn't be there with us.
Below is a fairly ramshackle cooking rig that was designed to look that way; pretty interesting bit of showmanship, in my opinion.
Remember Smokin' Joe from the last post? Well, take a look at his smoker below. I can safely say I've seen nothing like it--anywhere. He didn't give us a sample of his barbecue, either, but I do intend to get my hands on some of some before we leave the RGV. (Smokin' Joe is sitting on the far right.)
Below is a photo of Ed having patiently waiting for a sample of chicken from this group comprised mostly of teenagers. I tasted it, too, and found it superb--very moist and flavorful--even the white meat.
We left the fairgrounds before the judging was over, so we don't know who won, but it was most interesting to investigate the myriad of equipment and processes used to try to produce a winning piece of barbecue!
The main activity at Llano Grande this evening was a dance featuring 50's, 60's and 70's music--perfect for us geezer baby boomers! The band was great, and we all had a good time.
|Verna, Irene, Marilyn and Sandy Share a Laugh|
|Irene and Heinz Cut a Rug|
|Ron, Verna, Heinz, Irene, Ed, Marilyn and Sandy - What a Fun Group!|